Pollution is Bad and STALKER is Good

| Monday, April 22, 2013
Life in a Nuclear Wasteland
This person must play, because otherwise the reference seems rather out-of-nowhere.  Surely there are other nuclear wasteland-glorifying media out there.  Or they could reference earlier Slate articles, such as this one about how driving out most of the people was pretty helpful for nature, despite the radiation.  Anyway, nerd-cred to that writer.

Radiation is an extreme example, but the story raises a good point: pollution doesn't magically disappear.  It may be diluted very quickly, but dilution does not mean that it is gone.  If a single source is diluted, then it may have little or no consequence for health, but when there are many sources, and they continue over time, then the consequences increase, dangerously.

Some pollution we can put somewhere else.  We send computer equipment to China where they dissemble it and extract the valuable metals.  The safety and pollution standards are effectively non-existent, so the mercury that doesn't get breathed in ends up in the water.  Though we can also see how recycling isn't a cure-all, at least not when the label is used as a marketing term (but good luck finding a place to safely store a pile of toxic waste).

I'm sure someone, somewhere is trying to use this to criticize computers and digital lives.  Heavy metals are pretty awful and computers use a ton of power (let's say 3%; the numbers vary a lot).  But that's only looking at half the issue.  What would we be doing otherwise?  Maybe we'd sit and read in the sunlight.  Or we'd find something else to do, something far more destructive such as driving or riding trains while shooting buffalo.  We probably won't do the latter, since we've already done that too much to do it much more.

Happy Earth Day!

P.S. Feel free to punch anyone who says you can't enjoy life, for the cause of protecting the Earth.  It's a great place, but what's the point of a great place if we can't have any fun?  Just don't burn it down or poison your neighbors.


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